Connect with us


‘You need to be a little more humane to people:’ Stranded mom speaks out about WestJet travel ordeal



‘You need to be a little more humane to people:’ Stranded mom speaks out about WestJet travel ordeal

Mosetta Ferguson says she saved up for more than a year to take her first trip to Canada to visit her daughter, a trip she says was wonderful until her flight home was cancelled as a result of a strike involving WestJet mechanics that stranded thousands of people over the long weekend.

Ferguson, who lives in the Caribbean, arrived in June for a two-week stay with her daughter in Thorold, Ont. in Niagara Region.

She was set to fly out Saturday with her 14-year-old and her five-year-old. So her daughter drove the three to the airport at 4 a.m., only to discover that the flight had been cancelled because of the short-lived 48-hour strike.

They turned around and went back to Thorold, returning to Pearson at 6 a.m. Tuesday for the rescheduled flight at 9:30 a.m.

But when they arrived, Ferguson says, they were told they didn’t have tickets for that flight. 

“Why are we not on the flight? Because they did not send us a rebooking when they rescheduled the flight,” she says.

Ferguson said that her older daughter opens one restaurant early and closes another late and was not able to make another three-hour round-trip to the airport on Thursday, so the mom and her two younger children stayed at the airportwhile they waited to be rebooked on another flight.

While the airline provided her with one night at a hotel and three $15 meal vouchers to share between the three of them, she was told that they would need to pay out-of-pocket for any further expenses and seek reimbursement later.

However Ferguson says she’s already spent the extra money she saved for the trip on additional gas and food and doesn’t have anymore left to purchase extra meals and another night at a hotel after being rebooked on another flight set to depart Toronto on Thursday.

“This is now my fifth day over my time. I have already spent the extra money,” Ferguson says.

“I have a debit card that I think had a few dollars on it, but I can’t even use it because it keeps getting declined. I can’t reach the bank to find out what’s going on.”

WestJet was forced to park 130 aircraft at 13 airports across Canada as a result of the strike, resulting in hundreds of cancelled flights.

Though most passengers were rebooked after a deal was reached to end the strike on Sunday night, the airline has warned that “returning to business-as-usual flying will take time and further disruptions over the coming week are to be anticipated.”

Ferguson said that the situation has effectively left her stranded with two kids and no money to cover expenses.

“Right now, my only thing is to make sure whatever I’m able to find, I make sure my children are eating. Even if I don’t eat, I have to make sure they eat,” she says through tears.

What’s more, she said, nobody at the airline seems willing to help. While a manager spoke with her the first day and acknowledged they failed to send her confirmation of the new flight, she claims that she has been unable to reach anyone at the airline despite calling repeatedly in recent days.  

“It’s just, it’s just nerve-wracking for me, because I have to be in a situation where I have to try figure out where their (her kids) next meal is coming from,” Ferguson says.

In an email to CP24, Westjet said its teams “are working diligently to support all impacted guests as we rebuild to normal operations” in the wake of the strike.

“Unfortunately, as July long weekend is a peak travel period across Canada, limited availability exists both within our network and through alternative carriers, making options for reaccommodation extremely challenging,” the airline said.

“In compliance with the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), in the event reaccommodation with WestJet or an alternative airline isn’t available within 48 hours of a guest’s scheduled departure, guests are entitled to request a refund to their original form of payment.” 

The airline did not respond to the specifics of Ferguson’s situation, but said they encourage travellers to check the Canadian Transportation Agency’s website to learn about their rights.

Ferguson said while she understands the strike caused problems for the airline, it’s not her fault.

“I just, wish that they would realize, yes, you may not have been the one that caused the strike, but your customers did not cause the strike either. So why should I pick up the slack?” she said. “”When you call their phone, you get a message, and then it cuts. You can’t even speak to anybody at the airline. You can’t get them on the phone, you can’t get to the managers at the airport, you can’t reach anybody.”

Her message to the airline, she says, is a simple one: “You need to be a little more humane to people,” realizing that not all travellers might have the funds to sustain themselves through a nearly-weeklong delay.

Continue Reading